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Kliment Yefremovich Voroshilov


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Soviet statesman and marshal. One of the oldest of the Bolsheviks, he became president (1953–60) after Stalin's death.

Born in Verkhne, Dnepropetrovsk, the son of a miner, Voroshilov worked in the mines as a child before attending school. He later worked in a locomotive factory, from which he was dismissed for organizing a strike (1899). In 1903, while employed as an electrical fitter, he became chairman of the Lugansk branch of the Social Democratic Party (1905), joining the Bolsheviks in 1906. He worked in munitions factories during World War I before fighting in the civil war, in which he distinguished himself in 1919 as a commander at Tsaritsyn (now Volgograd). Now settled in a military career, he served in the Polish-Russian war (1920), fought in the Far East (1921), and became military commander of North Caucasus (1922).

Voroshilov was appointed people's commissar for naval and military affairs and chairman of the revolutionary committee in 1925. Elected a member of the Politburo the same year, he became people's commissar for defence (1934–40) and was appointed chairman of the Committee for State Defence (1941–44) during World War II. After the war he continued to be a member of the Politburo, although he gradually lost his influence with Stalin. When Stalin died in 1953, Voroshilov became chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (president), a position he retained until 1960, when he was succeeded by Brezhnev. Although he was implicated in the attempt to oust Khrushchev in 1957, he later published a defence of his foreign policy in Pravda.

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